Elmhurst City Council passes new waste contract

Elmhurst alderman Michael Bram comments on an ordinance establishing a new refuse and recycling services contract for 2018 to 2023 with current vendor Allied Waste of Melrose Park/Republic, which the City Council passed with a 13-1 vote Feb. 5.[]

ELMHURST – Elmhurst aldermen approved a new refuse and recycling services contract for 2018 to 2023 with current vendor Allied Waste of Melrose Park/Republic following a 13-1 vote at the Feb. 5 City Council meeting.

The proposed new contract would include 35-, 65- and 95-gallon toter options, organic waste collection, optional back-door refuse collection and optional programs for electronic and household hazardous waste collection, according to the Public Works and Buildings Committee report presented at the Jan. 16 council meeting.

Alderman Michael Bram, who is on the committee, voted against approval of the ordinance, which he pulled off the consent agenda.

Bram predicted many residents, especially seniors, would move to the new 35-gallon toter option. His concern was the relative cost per gallon of the smallest toter compared with the cost per gallon for the 95-gallon toter.

"If we truly believe in the sustainability policy that we all agreed to and signed off on and I believe are marching toward, we wouldn't be charging more to be getting rid of less waste and putting less into our landfills," Bram said. "We send one message saying that we believe in composting and we're moving forward with that, but then we send a totally different message in my perspective that we charge close to double per gallon cost for the smaller toter."

According to a vendor proposal chart, the flat monthly charge for collection for a 35-gallon wheeled refuse cart with recycling toter is $15.05, or $0.43 per gallon, while the monthly charge for a 95-gallon toter is $20.84, or roughly $0.22 per gallon.

"It's not right. It's not fair," Bram said.

Alderman Jim Kennedy, the Public Works and Buildings Committee chairman, said the ordinance that was approved at the meeting was to accept the agreement between the city and Allied, and the committee would propose the final administrative rates for residents before April. The monthly administrative fee, which is per household, covers the city's costs associated with the program, alderman Marti Deuter said Feb. 8.

According to a Public Works and Buildings Committee report dated Jan. 25, 2017, the administrative rate originally was higher for residents who had the 95-gallon toter option compared to the residents who used the 65-gallon toter option. In 2015-16, the administrative charge from the city to a resident using a 65-gallon toter was $1.34 per month while a resident using a 95-gallon toter received a $1.92 monthly charge. In 2016-17, it was $1.55 for both types of users per month, and in 2017-18, it was $1.61 for both types of users per month.

The organic waste monthly cost and the back-door service, both of which would be billed directly to the homeowner, would be $17.50 and $25, respectively, according to the vendor proposal chart. The new contract would begin April 1, and the new 35-gallon toter and food scrap composting program should begin shortly after that, according to the report.